7th July 2014

How much time should a Trustee give to their Board?

If you are invited to join a Board as a volunteer Trustee it can be easy to believe that being present and using your skills and experience to pitch in on discussions that interest you is enough. They are lucky to have you and you are volunteering your valuable free time after all. Right? No no no!! That statement can only be correct if you are happy to join an organisation that lacks aspiration and you are content to be a part of what is likely to be a poor performing Board. Like so much in life, if it is worth doing it is worth doing well, and putting time and commitment into your role as a Trustee is so much more rewarding than never truly engaging with the Trustee role and aspirations of the organisation. Working at a high-level takes discipline and time. In April McKinsey published some research that suggested that very high-impact corporate Boards spend about 40 days a year working on the full range of issues, while low or moderate impact Boards dedicated about 19 days on their work per year. Interestingly, both types of Boards only spent 4 days per year each on core governance […]
21st May 2014

How do we attract and retain social workers?

The Guardian Social Lives research 2014 surveyed hundreds of social workers to explore what employers could do to attract and retain them. This research concluded that good social workers are hard to find, with 69% of Managers saying it is difficult to find qualified and experienced social workers and only 57% saying it is easy to retain them. So how can Local Authorities attract good social workers? 59% of social workers cited location as important to them when choosing an employer as they want to give something back to their community. Korrine Williams, Social Worker, felt this was very important, as her strongest motivator was achieving a positive outcome for her clients, rather than an overwhelming commitment to her employer. 21% of social workers felt that their salary was an important factor in their decision making when choosing an employer – this is a 14% increase on the findings in 2008 and goes a long way to explaining why so many social workers are leaving the permanent roles and moving into agency work, with the associated higher rates of pay. 21% of the workers surveyed felt that the reputation or image of their employer was an influencing factor for them. […]
14th May 2014

What is the public perception of social work?

The Guardian Social Lives research 2014 surveyed hundreds of social workers this year to explore how happy they were in their work. This research found that 90% of social workers feel undervalued by society. 85% said negative press makes their jobs harder to do and only 3% felt that Social Work has a positive public image. So what can be done to turn this around? The way social work is perceived through the media and by the public in general is the key to improving social workers satisfaction and recently there has been a move in the right direction. Jo Cleary, Chair of the Board, The College of Social Work commented that after the serious case review of Daniel Pelka was published, there was a shift in the perception of social workers in that they do genuinely care and that their work is extremely complex, involving lots of professionals. Unfortunately, this very complexity is the reason that social work is not generally viewed positively in the media, as the tabloids are not geared towards deciphering the intricacies of the many professionals involved in each case. Korrine Williams, Social Worker, felt that there was no doubt that her clients were influenced […]
9th May 2014

Social workers – are they happy?

I joined the Guardian for a panel debate at the launch of their Social Lives Research, in association with Cafcass. The panel consisted of: Jabbar Sardar, HR Director, Cafcass Jim Campbell, PHD, Professor of social work, Goldsmiths University Jo Cleary, Chair of the Board, The College of Social Work Korrine Williams, Social Worker, formerly London Borough of Lambeth, now Agency worker Hundreds of social workers were surveyed this year to explore how happy they were in their work. The first round of research was conducted 6 years ago, in 2008, and this was an opportunity to gain insight into how recent changes have impacted on social workers. Are they Happy? The majority of social workers (63%) said they were happy, but they are less happy than they were 6 years ago (a drop of 19%). 85% felt they were trapped by excessive red tape (an increase of 39%) and 83% felt they did not have enough time to give their cases enough attention (an increase of 17%). The research demonstrates that, clearly, social workers are not driven by financial rewards but their earning potential is important as many are leaving their permanent posts and moving into agency work, which offers […]
1st May 2014

Grant Taylor confirmed as visiting faculty for The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations Certificate in Dynamics at Board Level 2014

Press release from TIHR:   We are pleased to announce a top quality visiting faculty for the Certificate in Dynamics at Board Level 2014. The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR) is pleased to announce the visiting faculty who will be joining Dr Mannie Sher and Leslie Brissett, the Co-Directors of the course. The programme takes place over 4 two-day modules on the following dates: 19-20 May; 28-29 July; 15-16 September and 27-28 October. The Faculty, leaders of thinking in their own right, will bring their expertise to bear on the programme and will contribute a chapter to the book published by Karnac, Dynamics at Board Level, a Tavistock Institute Primer. Grant Taylor, Founding Partner of the ground-breaking recruitment and advisory specialists Peridot Partners, will bring his vision for 21st Century Boards and the issues of succession to Module 2 in July. Grant has worked in recruitment since 1999 and in executive search since 2004 exclusively for public sector and not-for-profit organisations. He has undertaken a significant number of Chief Executive, Director, Chair, Trustee and Non-Executive appointments for charities and not-for-profit organisations of all kinds and sizes. Grant currently leads the Board Development Consulting practice and plays a prominent role in leading […]
12th March 2014

How boards enable fundraising effectiveness

We have an interesting dynamic within Peridot Partners. We have a successful fundraising recruitment practice (led by Julia Roberts a career fundraiser turned head-hunter), a generalist headhunting practice (staffed mainly by career recruiters) and the Board Development Practice, where the people involved are Trustees and have significant experience of working with charities at Board level.  With the diversity of individual and background you will not be surprised to hear that we have quite different views on how a charity board should relate to fundraising, and indeed whether Trustees should contribute financially themselves. Recently Lisa Nandy, the shadow minister for civil society, commented in response to minister Nick Hurd’s views on a report about attitudes in the US and UK to charitable contributions.  Julia is in support of Nick Hurd’s comments to celebrate wealthy donors, encourage them to give more and to learn positive lessons from the US.  I am too, but I also agree with Lisa’s comments that there are many other ways to give that should also be celebrated; these include employers paying a living wage (to head off social problems before they start), as should the value of volunteering time and expertise.  Even celebrating entrepreneurs and businesses who […]
7th March 2014

Enabling Voice and Choice

I agreed with the main themes of Ed Miliband’s Hugo Young lecture last week that everyone should have the chance to have choice and control in their own lives, as service users they should be able to form and define the services they consume, come together in communities (across the sectors) and be enabled to make decisions at a local level.  No radical new ideas here but this common sense,  user-centred approach is something many charities aspire to achieve. However,  with pressures on resources,  current top down systems often frustrating or at worst prohibiting  this type of approach, and let’s face it some charities still doing to rather than with,  it can sometimes be far harder to achieve than it needs to be.  However, it got me thinking about the focus on service user needs, the  potency of people coming together from all parts of society as a collective to make decisions that matter to themselves and their own communities and in turn how this maintains focus on need and what needs to be achieved.  A good illustration of this working in practice is the United Way – an approach still in its infancy in the UK but a fully […]
9th January 2014

The 21st Century Trustee Board – and an exemplar of modern practice at Norwood.

There is a growing interest in Board effectiveness (across all sectors) and one of the most common questions we are asked is how an organisation can measure the performance of Trustees and the Board as a collective entity.  One of the challenges is to find a meaningful benchmark to compare against; one that is both relevant and aspirational. I’ve seen firsthand how good Boards can have a huge impact on an organisation and one of the driving factors behind the development of our Board Development Service here at Peridot was my frustration with how few Boards there were providing really effective support to their organisations. That said I recently came across an organisation that is as close to a national exemplar as I have ever seen.  The structures and practices they deploy chime so well with what we talk about as a 21st Century Board, so if there is one organisation to take note of it is Norwood. On the 11th December I was privileged to undertake a workshop and presentation at the Jewish Community Trustees Event on the topic of Board Performance.  Norwood was introduced to me as a prospective case study partner, and having seen firsthand how they […]